Govt seeks involvement of NGOs in improving India's health system


Health Minister J P Nadda today sought the involvement of NGOs in improving public health system even as the government has cracked down on over 9,000 voluntary organisations. “NGOs are not there to give sermons; they are there, doing good work. They are there to participate and we will see that they do participate,” he said after releasing ‘swacchta guidelines’ for public health facilities and also launch of initiative for award to public health facilities Kaya Kalp.

Nadda’s comments came days after some 170 organisations from across the country wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to end “coercive actions” (against NGOs) immediately and amend “opaque” rules and regulations regarding foreign funding to ensure transparency. In the letter, the NGOs also demanded urgent revocation of punitive actions against them, saying grounds of such measures were “vague, subjective or flimsy” and sought dialogue between the NGO sector and government to address the issues.

The Minister also said if the guidelines did not have the provisions for the participation of the NGOs and voluntary organisations, he would ensure they are duly incorporated going forward. Observing that there is tendency in the public health system to consider it as the “sole domain (of government)” Nadda urged public health officials to “shun” the mentality and allow involvement of lawmakers as well in improving the ambience and quality of treatment and care in government-run hospitals.

“I have often seen when public representatives or political leaders visit hospitals, the doctors and staff look askance rather than interacting with them. It is not one way traffic. I will urge you to stop this one way traffic, get them (MPs) involved and allow them to participate,” he said.

Besides releasing the guidelines, the government today also announced a scheme under which public health facilities will be awarded based on their performance on various parameters, including sanitation, cleanliness and infection control.

According to PTI, the initiative is aimed at promoting cleanliness, hygiene and infection control practices at public healthcare facilities. The initiative also aims to incentivise such facilities that show exemplary performance in adhering to standard protocols of cleanliness and infection control as well as inculcate a culture of ongoing assessment and peer review of performance related to hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation.

The number of awards proposed under the scheme are for the best two district hospitals in each state, best two Community Health Centres (CHC) or sub-district hospitals and one award for Primary Health Centre in every district. In the first category, the first and second district hospitals will be given Rs 50 lakh and Rs 20 lakh, respectively, while for CHC category, the first facility will be given Rs 15 lakh and the second Rs 10 lakh. For PHC, Rs 2 lakh will be awarded.

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